Monday, September 13, 2010

Simanim Custom in Chabad


Rosh HaShana is over and now we are all awaiting Yom Kippur. Although people say that the Rosh HaShana prayers may be longer than those on Yom Kippur, there is nothing to eat on the highest Jewish holiday.

Last week I spent the Rosh HaShana celebrations in Safed (northern Israel) at the Chabad hostel ASCENT. You don't have to be Chabad in order to sign up for their programmes. Just the opposite: They prefer you to be secular or with not too much Yiddishkeit (yet).

The programme itself was crowded. Some say "too crowded" but I enjoyed myself. In the evenings we were sent to different families for the festive meals and what struck me was the Chabad custom not to say the blessings over all SIMANIM (such as pomegranate, fishhead, etc.) on the Rosh HaShana evenings. What Chabad does is simply saying the blessing over the apple and then they dip it in honey. When I asked some Chabadnikim where the custom comes from, they don't know.

One programme participant said that he went to a Chabad family where the family said all Simanim blessings but only concentrated on the apple one. The rest of the Simanim was for fun.


  1. Chabad is a movement composed of Jews from all backgrounds and Minhagim. Minhagim within a movement such as Satmar are more uniform because the vast majority of Satmarer are Hungarians. This is not the case within Chabad were you can find people from all backgrounds. In France, for instance, 70% of Lubavitcher Chasidim are Sephardim Jews from Morocco, so Lubavitcher in France have added the universally accepted Chabad Minhagim to their Sephardic Minhagim. This is in accordance with the Rebbe's instructions: The Rebbe demanded that the new Chasidim maintain the customs of their ancestors (at least those that do not conflict with a Lubavitch minhag universally accepted) and add the Lubavitch customs listed in the book Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad-Lubavitch. Thus, you shouldn't be surprised to see that in the Lubavitch movement, in some areas, there is no uniform customs. For example, if you walk in the 770 Shul, you'll see Satmar Hasidim who became Lubavitch, but retain their old Satmar customs and dress.

  2. B"H

    Thanks for the information !
    In fact I once celebrated a Pessach Seder with the Chabad Shaliach in Brussels. He is Sephardi and kept his own customs. Besides eating the Mazzot from a plastic bag as Chabad does.:-)

    I also know a Belzer from London who switched to Chabad but still wears his Belz clothing on Shabbat.

  3. סימן של חבד

    ואני שמעתי שחסידי חב"ד אוכלים גם קולורבי
    כדי לזכות ולשמוע את קולו של הרבי

  4. ב"ה

    ולמה דוקא קולרבי קשור לרבי